EXCLUSIVE: Orlando, FL — NFL player and NFLPA Executive Committee member Brian Waters earned his seventh Pro Bowl selection in 2012. The right guard is among the most accomplished offensive linemen in the league. Pro Player Insiders spoke with the 6-foot-3, 320-lb. Waters about the NFLPA, the meaning of leadership and what’s up next for him.
“I think leadership can be misunderstood,” Waters added. “I think being a leader is not about being followed, it’s more about service, and [the NFLPA] is a service organization.”
This week the NFL players elected a new president, Eric Winston, along with seven new members of the Executive Committee.
“…electing those particular positions, a lot of those positions, more than we’ve ever had to before, is really an opportunity for guys to serve with a greater platform,” said Waters.
Not only does the NFLPA handle labor negotiations with the NFL, they also protect and promote the rights of the members of their union. The union is adapting to a league continuing to bring in younger players. The Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks, for example, had an average age of 25.31 (4th youngest in the NFL) at the start of the 2013-2014 season.
Waters said, “We’re becoming a younger league so we’ve now got younger players and we educate them on their benefits and what we’re about as a union,” Waters said. “We know in the future there will be another fight, another negotiation and we want to make sure that we’re more than prepared and we have the proper leadership in place,” Waters added.
With the NFL draft coming up in May, Waters took some time to shed light on his experience entering the league back in 1999. “Well my draft experience wasn’t a great one, I didn’t get drafted so it was definitely a long and hard process to watch name by name get called and it not be yours…I think sometimes the guys who get called later in rounds and even the guys who don’t get their names called are guys who don’t have as many expectations and so they have the freedom of just going out and there playing football. A lot of times, that’s a great freedom, a great opportunity for them.”
He was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 1999 out of the University of North Texas, as a TE and was released during training camp. He has also played for the Kansas City Chiefs (2000-2010) New England Patriots (2011-2012), Cowboys (2013) and has earned 7 Pro Bowl selections (04-06, 08, 10-12).
After 13 seasons in the NFL, Waters is a free agent was not re-signed by the Cowboys this offseason. He is appreciative of his opportunities and isn’t hanging up his cleats just yet. “Its been a wild run and I’m not saying its over yet, but I’m happy and excited to be able to live my dream out.”
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